COLUMBIA — Missouri coach Gary Pinkel often talks to his team about “emotional stability.” It is his term for telling his players to never get too excited or too mad, no matter the situation.
“It’s in a game where you’re in control, you have to remain focused regardless of all of the atmosphere, all of the surroundings, everything that’s happened,” Pinkel said. “Whether you just had the worst play you ever had, or you had the greatest play you ever had. Can you get back and emotionally be stable as an athlete? And we use that term, or if you lose control on the sidelines. If you lose control, you’re of no value to our football team.”
Pinkel lists the atmosphere of the stadium and big plays for the opponent as two major hurdles in maintaining emotional stability.
Saturday’s game against Texas provided plenty of both. The Longhorns had 400 yards of total offense and 71,004 fans showed up to Memorial Stadium to watch Texas beat Missouri 41-7.
“When the bullets are firing, it’s just kind of like who can stay calm, who can be poised and stuff like that,” linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. “We didn’t do a great job of that Saturday night.”
Weatherspoon said frustration Saturday night made problems worse.
“When things were going wrong, we didn’t respond the way we should have,” he said.
Pinkel said his defense had not had communication issues this season before the Texas game. He said there were a few plays where defensive players had a lack of communication Saturday and attributed the problem to a lack of emotional stability, an inability to stay focused and make sure of the play the team is running.
“A lot of things are happening,” he said. “Which ultimately you lose focus, a lot of those things. And they’re all inexcusable.”
Pinkel said communication issues were not the only problem for the defense in the Texas game.
“That’s one or two plays,” Pinkel said. “Obviously they’re all serious. But we just didn’t play very good defense.”
Now, the Missouri defense is preparing for Saturday’s game at Colorado.
“They’ve certainly had their ups and downs, but they’re still a good football team,” Pinkel said of the Buffaloes. “They had a great win against Kansas, which I just got done watching on film again.”
The Buffaloes have used two quarterbacks this season, Cody Hawkins, son of coach Dan Hawkins, and Tyler Hansen. Hawkins was the team’s original starter, Hansen has started the team’s past two games.
“The new quarterback is a good young player that can run,” Pinkel said. “And very athletic, Hansen. So we have our challenges.”
Pinkel said he’s preparing for the possibility facing both quarterbacks Saturday.
“I think they will,” he said. “We’ve seen that before, I think coach Hawkins came out and said that, for certain, if they were in a two-minute situation (needing a quick drive late in the game), they would use his son.”
Pinkel provided an injury update at his Monday news conference. Linebacker Luke Lambert is doubtful for Saturday’s game at Colorado with a dislocated shoulder. Defensive back Munir Prince is also doubtful with a hamstring injury.